Editor's Note: Welcome to a new episode of 1 Minute Meal, a series of video snapshots documenting the places, people, and foods that make New York a vibrant food community.
Since 2002, Bronx-based Buddhist monk Thich Thien Chi has been a spiritual guide to Vietnamese Buddhists from throughout the tri-state area. He's also turned his temple, the Chieu Kien Buddhist Center, into one of the city's most interesting dining halls, working for hours every weekend to serve free vegetarian meals along with his Sunday service.
For Thien Chi, cooking vegetarian food to reduce his followers' meat-based meals is a novel way to put Buddhist principles into practice. In conversation, however, the monk downplays the significance of the food itself. As his temple's Lunar New Year celebration shows, a hot meal is but one of many sources of sustenance for a community facing the future.
Previously on 1 Minute Meal
The True Tastes of Tea »
The Clay Pot Rice King of Chinatown »
Noodles by Hand in Manhattan's Chinatown »
Doughnuts and Coffee for Past and Present »
Life of a Slice Man and Sal and Carmine »
A Different Kind of Factory at Jomart Chocolates »
Appraising the Perfect Muffin at Blue Sky Bakery »
A League of Tortas at Tortas Neza in Corona »
One More Pupusa at El Olomega in Red Hook »
Lechonera La Piraña in Mott Haven »
The Arepa Lady of Jackson Heights »
The Indonesian Food Bazaar in Astoria, Queens »
The Lemon Ice King of Corona, a Queens Classic »
A Day in the Life of The Baoery, a Pop-Up Restaurant »
Khachapuri, a Georgian Bread Baked into South Brooklyn »
David's Brisket House, the Jewish Deli Run by Muslims in Brooklyn »
About the videographer: James Boo has been a Serious Eats contributor since 2010. Working as a multimedia journalist, he is also the founder of Real Cheap Eats and a documentarian. Check out his food-and-travel blog, The Eaten Path, for more journeys to the real meal.